My husband and I are thinking some heads need to be rolling pretty soon, but want to double check to make sure we aren't missing out on potential good layers by jumping the gun too quickly.
Our first round of chickens 1 1/2yrs ago all laid between 17-25wks of age. We got a second lot of hatchery chicks last spring so that when our older hens molted we would hopefully have more layers in rotation.
We ended up with x2 production reds and x2 new hampshires from this group. The production reds began laying at 24 & 25wks of age. However, at 28wks of age the supposedly "fast to mature" new hamps are not laying. The width of their pubic bones is very narrow (1.5 to 2 fingerwidths). A decent space from breastbone to vent on one new hamp, a poor amount of room on the other. Vents are not totally puckered, but not loose like an actual layer.
We use supplemental lighting and have the girls in a nice cozy coop on days that are too cold (it is warm, the water hasn't frozen in there, they don't even puff their feathers out). They are in a tractor outside on nicer weather days. Mild winter so far up until a storm that came in a day ago...hasn't been very cold, not much snow until just now. We have ensured plenty of space, grit, warmth, ventilation, quality food, healthy greens in small doses, rooster booster water vitamins/supplement, apple cider vinegar, and cayenne pepper in the feed. No signs of mites or disease, normal activity levels, etc.
BOTH the older 1 1/2yr old hens, and the x2 28wk old production reds are laying at a typical clip for winter (x1 egg every 1-3 days per bird). However, those darn new hamps aren't producing....
So....do we wait and feed these big piggies for a bit longer...or do we make some nice chicken noodle soup?!
Thank you for your ideas